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It’s The Oscars! Picking the Big Winners!

Arts Review2022-3-25By: Marc Glassman

For Part 1 of Marc’s Oscar predictions, click here!

 

It’s the Oscars: The Big Winners

By Marc Glassman

Fearless picks for Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actress, Supporting Actress, Documentary, International Feature Film and more!

 

The Academy Awards are on this Sunday, March 27, at 8pm at Hollywood’s Dolby Theatre and broadcast around the world through ABC and collegial stations. The hosts—and good luck to them—are Amy Schumer, Regina Hall and Wanda Sykes. Let’s hope they can make the Oscars more fun than they’ve been for the past few years. I must admit my home, which includes Oscar-viewing friends, will be assembling at 7pm for the Red Carpet. It rarely disappoints. The dresses are either great or terrible and the comments from my guests on the clothing choices are often funnier and more interesting than in the cinema categories. Hope it’s fun in your households, too.

Okay, just like the Awards, let’s predict some important prizes first—but not the absolute big winners. 

 

Actress in a Supporting Role

Jessie Buckley in THE LOST DAUGHTER

Ariana DeBose in WEST SIDE STORY

Judi Dench in BELFAST

Kirsten Dunst in THE POWER OF THE DOG

Aunjanue Ellis in KING RICHARD

Who Should Win:

Jessie Buckley in THE LOST DAUGHTER
As if it isn’t hard enough to play a younger version of the lead character in a film, Jessie Buckley is matched as being the junior edition of the brilliant Oscar-wining Olivia Colman. Ok—let’s make it even harder. Buckley doesn’t speak in her extended flashback scenes; instead she conveys her character solely through her physicality. And she does it so well, that in my opinion, she’s actually better than Colman in The Lost Daughter. Suffice it to say—a truly great performance. 

Who Will Win:

Ariana DeBose in WEST SIDE STORY
DeBose has a lot of heavy lifting to do in the part of Anita, who has to go from believing in the American Dream to seeing how violence and sexism and racial hatred can bring it down. She’s equal to the task and is one of the best things in Spielberg’s West Side Story. She deserves an Oscar but I prefer Buckley. 

 

Documentary (Feature)

ASCENSION
Jessica Kingdon, Kira Simon-Kennedy and Nathan Truesdell

ATTICA
Stanley Nelson and Traci A. Curry

FLEE
Jonas Poher Rasmussen, Monica Hellström, Signe Byrge Sørensen and Charlotte De La Gournerie

SUMMER OF SOUL (…OR, WHEN THE REVOLUTION COULD NOT BE TELEVISED)
Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson, Joseph Patel, Robert Fyvolent and David Dinerstein

WRITING WITH FIRE
Rintu Thomas and Sushmit Ghosh

What Should and Will Win:

SUMMER OF SOUL (…OR, WHEN THE REVOLUTION COULD NOT BE TELEVISED)
Questlove and his producers have put together an amazing archival documentary that captures an essential time, the summer of 1969, when the Harlem Cultural Festival took place every weekend to mollify the Black denizens of upper Manhattan. The doc evokes the period after 1968, which had been dominated by the assassinations of Martin Luther King and Bobby Kennedy, and the accompanying riots in major U.S. urban centres, when the celebration of black culture was deemed to be a very good thing. Summer of Soul features not only great music, from the blues of B.B. King through the jazz of Nina Simone to the r’n’b of Stevie Wonder, but also the fearless civil rights advocate Reverend Jesse Jackson and others speaking about the harsh and difficult lives of Blacks in America then. In a year when BLM matters so much, this is the doc that speaks to that time and this one. 

And Let’s Not Forget:

Flee, which should win in this and other categories. But may not. 

 

International Feature Film

DRIVE MY CAR. Japan

FLEE. Denmark

THE HAND OF GOD. Italy

LUNANA: A YAK IN THE CLASSROOM. Bhutan

THE WORST PERSON IN THE WORLD. Norway

What Should and Will Win:

DRIVE MY CAR

One of finest films of this and any other year, Drive My Car is about solitude and fear and love and loss—and friendship and diversity and remorse. It’s about doing the best you can, whether it’s directing theatre or moving a vehicle effortlessly in traffic. Nothing happens and everything happens. A man commits a murder. Another grieves a wife. Another misses a mother—or perhaps not. Three hours pass and you are entranced. A film references Chekhov and Beckett—and is worthy of making those claims. This is filmmaking at its best. 

Hey-But what about Flee?

Indeed. One of the best films ever—nominated in three categories—may win nothing. Is there no justice in the world? (In case you were wondering, the answer is “no.”)

 

Actress in a Leading Role

Jessica Chastain in THE EYES OF TAMMY FAYE

Olivia Colman in THE LOST DAUGHTER

Penélope Cruz in PARALLEL MOTHERS

Nicole Kidman in BEING THE RICARDOS

Kristen Stewart in SPENCER

Who Should Win:

Penélope Cruz in PARALLEL MOTHERS

Cruz is a movie star. She’s iconic and dominant on the level of Sophia Loren and Ingrid Bergman and Marlene Dietrich. Cruz combines beauty and style with an earned awareness of her craft. In this film, she makes a terrible mistake and has to get over it. She does so with such calm and integrity that it barely seems to be more than a plot point. But it isn’t; Almodovar cast her because we would accept her folly because of who she is. Cruz is so believable and admired at this point in her life and career that we will give her absolute respect. She’s wonderful in every scene in this film, whether as a bereaved mother, a lover, a terrific photographer, a helpful friend or a staunch family member. 

Who Will Win:

Jessica Chastain in THE EYES OF TAMMY FAYE

In a startling late-breaking career, Chastain only become a star in the past decade and has no Oscars to her name. She started her career somewhat late and didn’t appear in a film until she was in her early thirties. Chastain has been so brilliant since she burst on the scene that at age 33, she garnered an Austin Film Critics Association Breakthrough Award for five films all made in the same year: Coriolanus, The Debt, The Help, Take Shelter and The Tree of Life, in which she was superb and radically different in each performance. 

She’s now 45 and deserves an Oscar! But not for this film, in which she’s good as the bizarre and sexy evangelist Tammy Faye Bakker but not at her best. I think Tammy Faye is such a set of massive contradictions: sensual, avaricious, duplicitous, but overall a true Christian, that it’s hard to play her. Chastain is fine; it’s just not her best role. But who am I to suggest that she isn’t this year’s worthy winner?

 

Directing

BELFAST
Kenneth Branagh

DRIVE MY CAR
Ryusuke Hamaguchi

LICORICE PIZZA
Paul Thomas Anderson

THE POWER OF THE DOG
Jane Campion

WEST SIDE STORY
Steven Spielberg

Who Should Win:

Ryusuke Hamaguchi

Directing film is a strange craft and art form. It’s like being an orchestra conductor. You have to be charismatic, a leader who can get the best from every performer and technical person involved in the production. But that’s not enough—in fact, the bombastic commander is the stereotype of the worst kind of autocrat. The best director commands attention and gets the best out of everyone but still has the artistic integrity to make a personal statement out of the work, be it cinema or a symphony or a play or an opera. 

So we get to Hamaguchi, who does nothing flashy in Drive My Car. Like Jean Renoir or Howard Hawks, he never shows off, preferring that the audience understand the film’s story and characters. It’s not about being self-effacing: Hamaguchi makes films of extreme duration and expects audiences to respond personally to his work. But his films are made without stylish flourishes while the stories and characters act out life to the extreme. His leads in Drive My Car are quietly obsessive: Hidetoshi Nishijima playing theatre director and actor Yusuke Kafuku and Toko Miura as his personal valet Misaki Watari play their parts with extreme integrity which only makes their eventual breakthrough as characters in the film all that more moving. 

Everything in Drive My Car indicates how obsessive and artistic is Hamaguchi. He deserves the Oscar. 

 

Who Will Win: 

Jane Campion. Power of the Dog

As anyone who has seen Power of the Dog has noticed, Jane Campion has hardly made a typical Western. Sam Elliott isn’t the only lover of Westerns who must be horrified by what Campion has done in her film. She’s taken all of the tropes of John Ford’s Stagecoach and Howard Hawks’ Red River and turned them on their head. Benedict Cumberbatch’s Phil Burbank is everything a cowboy should be—tough, a leader of men, resourceful—only he has a problem: really, he’s a repressed homosexual. You wouldn’t want John Wayne to play the role. 

Campion has crafted an astonishing film. She has moved her story from vast exteriors—genuine cowboy picture scenes—to gothic interiors—the weird and scary relationship between Cumberbatch’s terrifying brother-in-law and his bullied sister-in-law, played so effectively by Kirsten Dunst. Then, there’s the truly perverse connection between Dunst’s clearly gay son (Kodi Smit-McPhee) and Cumberbatch: what’s up with that? Campion is that rare director, who can take us on journeys that truly astonish us. She deserves the Oscar for this film.

 

Best Picture

BELFAST
Laura Berwick, Kenneth Branagh, Becca Kovacik and Tamar Thomas, Producers

CODA
Philippe Rousselet, Fabrice Gianfermi and Patrick Wachsberger, Producers

DON’T LOOK UP
Adam McKay and Kevin Messick, Producers

DRIVE MY CAR
Teruhisa Yamamoto, Producer

DUNE
Mary Parent, Denis Villeneuve and Cale Boyter, Producers

KING RICHARD
Tim White, Trevor White and Will Smith, Producers

LICORICE PIZZA
Sara Murphy, Adam Somner and Paul Thomas Anderson, Producers

NIGHTMARE ALLEY
Guillermo del Toro, J. Miles Dale and Bradley Cooper, Producers

THE POWER OF THE DOG
Jane Campion, Tanya Seghatchian, Emile Sherman, Iain Canning and Roger Frappier, Producers

WEST SIDE STORY
Steven Spielberg and Kristie Macosko Krieger, Producers

What Should Win:

Drive My Car.

It’s a moving piece of art that dramatizes love and loss and the healing power of friendship and creativity. But that makes it too pat. The film is complex and powerful, with violence and anger always lurking in the shadows of the drama. People will be watching this film in 50 years still enjoying its perverse and enriching pleasures.

 

What Will Win:

The Power of the Dog. 

A wonderful comeback production by Jane Campion and the big feature film that Benedict Cumberbatch always seemed capable of making. What’s not to love? One caveat: it is a genre picture upended. Yes, pro-gay and anti-bullying. But is it the best film of the year? 

And now for the rest….

 

Cinematography

DUNE
Greig Fraser

NIGHTMARE ALLEY
Dan Laustsen

THE POWER OF THE DOG
Ari Wegner

THE TRAGEDY OF MACBETH
Bruno Delbonnel

WEST SIDE STORY
Janusz Kaminski

Who Should Win: All of them. These are masters at their art (and craft). I’ve seen and praised these films and the “look” of each is phenomenal. 

Who Will Win:

Janusz Kaminski, because the Academy members will want to give Spielberg’s film a big prize or two. And it is beautifully shot. 

 

Music (Original Song)

“Be Alive” from KING RICHARD
Music and Lyric by DIXSON and Beyoncé Knowles-Carter

“Dos Oruguitas” from ENCANTO
Music and Lyric by Lin-Manuel Miranda

“Down To Joy” from BELFAST
Music and Lyric by Van Morrison

“No Time To Die” from NO TIME TO DIE
Music and Lyric by Billie Eilish and Finneas O’Connell

“Somehow You Do” from FOUR GOOD DAYS
Music and Lyric by Diane Warren

Who Should Win: 

Van Morrison for “Down to Joy.” Van the Man, the voice of Belfast in the 1960s. One of Branagh’s best choices in the film was having Morrison’s music: it so evokes the period and the city. Here he is, old, so many years displaced in California, and he comes through with this beautiful song and performance, bringing it all back home. 

Who Will Win:

Lin-Manuel Miranda for Dos Oruguitas, a beautiful moving ballad with political resonance. It’s Miranda, let’s face it: he’s bound to win, but, in this case, it’s deserved despite great competition. I mean Billie Eilish, Beyoncé; come on, this field isn’t fair this year.

 

Short Film (Animated)

AFFAIRS OF THE ART
Joanna Quinn and Les Mills

BESTIA
Hugo Covarrubias and Tevo Díaz

BOXBALLET
Anton Dyakov

ROBIN ROBIN
Dan Ojari and Mikey Please

THE WINDSHIELD WIPER
Alberto Mielgo and Leo Sanchez

What Should and Will Win:

Affairs of the Art is a wonderfully quirky tale of an eccentric Scottish mother who should have been an artist but certainly hasn’t lost her powers or imagination. It’s from the NFB and it’s brilliant.  A Canadian winner. You betcha.

What Might Beat Us: Robin Robin. Beautifully crafted Aardman film but boring. 

 

Short Film (Live Action)

ALA KACHUU – TAKE AND RUN
Maria Brendle and Nadine Lüchinger

THE DRESS
Tadeusz Łysiak and Maciej Ślesicki

THE LONG GOODBYE
Aneil Karia and Riz Ahmed

ON MY MIND
Martin Strange-Hansen and Kim Magnusson

PLEASE HOLD
K.D. Dávila and Levin Menekse

 

What Should and Will Win:

THE LONG GOODBYE
Aneil Karia and Riz Ahmed

The extraordinarily talented Riz Ahmed, who might win awards as the voice of the lead character in Flee (and the film’s Executive Producer), is brilliant in this devastating short. He plays the oldest son in a warm and wonderful Asian-British family, who are suddenly captured and persecuted by the police. It’s the ultimate paranoid fantasy and includes an astonishing soliloquy by Ahmed about racism that has to be seen to be believed. Breathtaking.

 

Visual Effects

DUNE
Paul Lambert, Tristan Myles, Brian Connor and Gerd Nefzer

FREE GUY
Swen Gillberg, Bryan Grill, Nikos Kalaitzidis and Dan Sudick

NO TIME TO DIE
Charlie Noble, Joel Green, Jonathan Fawkner and Chris Corbould

SHANG-CHI AND THE LEGEND OF THE TEN RINGS
Christopher Townsend, Joe Farrell, Sean Noel Walker and Dan Oliver

SPIDER-MAN: NO WAY HOME
Kelly Port, Chris Waegner, Scott Edelstein and Dan Sudick

Fair Warning: I always lose in this category!

What Will Win: 

DUNE
Paul Lambert, Tristan Myles, Brian Connor and Gerd Nefzer

Because Villeneuve’s film deserves recognition and the visual effects are stunning.

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